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Duke Turns Back Miami, 68-53
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Duke Turns Back Miami, 68-53
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Duke Turns Back Miami, 68-53
By Rob Clough
January 18, 2015

Analysis and Stats (JS)

In memory of Jim Sabiston

Why Duke Won: Duke dominated every category they needed: They may have had 19 turnovers, but a few of those were three second calls and three others were offensive fouls. In other words, there weren't as many live-ball turnovers as there had been in Duke's losses. Duke pressed their advantage on the boards and scored at will in the paint.

Why Miami Lost: The Canes simply didn't have a post threat capable of dealing with Duke's size across the board. Going 6-3, 6-4 and 6-5 and being able to bring 6-3 and 6-4 post players off the bench was too much for Miami to handle. Miami wasn't able to bring enough pressure to bear to exploit their quickness, nor were they able to diversify enough on offense to make Duke work hard on defense.

The Game Turned When...: The Devils went on a 10-2 run to start the second half, knocking the Canes back and giving Duke a working margin that they'd keep the rest of the game.

X-Factor: Amber Henson. Playing a career-high 32 minutes out of sheer necessity, Henson pulled down 10 rebounds and had 3 blocks. Despite not producing much on the offensive end, her play helped stave off any Miami runs.

Areas For Improvement: Duke still has a lot of trouble defending the corner three, especially against teams that love to pass as much as Miami does. It's always a danger in a 3-2 zone that the corner will be open, but the Devils are more than a step slow in sliding over.

Ramifications: Duke stays within a game of Louisville and is in a four-way tie for second place in the ACC (with FSU, Notre Dame, and Miami). Miami may not have been ranked, but they are a solid team that would have been in the top 25 next week if they had beaten Duke. This was a dangerous game that Duke handled well.

Duke Starters (from post to point)

Elizabeth Williams


This was a dominant performance, an All-American performance. She got 18 shots (which is what she should be getting in every game) and was extremely efficient in how she scored: hooks, drives, layups, up-and-unders, drives, floaters. If she got near the basket, chances are she was going to make the shot. She had 8 of Duke's 11 points during the key 11-0 run that brought Duke back from being down one to being in control of the game. She scored eight points in the last ten minutes of the game and had the pass to Johnson that led to the three point kill shot that finished off the game. Liz passed Jasmine Thomas for seventh place in Duke's all-time scoring rolls and is just 2 points away from Iciss Tillis and sixth place.

Amber Henson


This was a heroic effort from Amber, who played huge minutes and came up big as a result. Her only score was a late post-up on a feed from Greenwell, but by that time she pulled down board after board and clogged up the middle against the Canes. I don't think Miami was expecting her to dominate on defense the way she did, because she sent back a number of shots and was ready for the rebound. While she was whistled for a few three-second calls, her errors were certainly outpaced by her tremendous effort.

Azurá Stevens


This was the best game from beginning to end in Stevens' brief career. That came from simply recognizing a mismatch and taking full advantage of it. She was 5-6 from the field in the first half, operating mostly in the post. She was patient in waiting for the ball to come to her and then keeping it high to finish -- she had brought the ball down low too many times against Virginia Tech. She also did a nice job of moving the ball, as she found Greenwell for a three in transition and Williams twice down low. A steal and layup put Duke up by 15 with under five minutes to go. She did get called for a few travels, and her ballhandling still needs some work, but this was a dominant showing overall.

Rebecca Greenwell


Rebecca was kept on lockdown most of the game by Miami's guards, and it was clear that this was a priority for the Canes by the way they face-guarded her. She was held scoreless in the first half, but McCallie noted that she still drew attention because of the threat she posed. The huge three she hit in transition at the start of the second half was a killer, giving Duke a 13 point lead and reiterating the need to guard her. She took another jumper seconds after crossing half court that was a big risk, but it pushed Duke's lead up to 14. While Greenwell had a few turnovers, there's no doubt that she still influenced the game.

Ka'lia Johnson


KJ was solid in this game. She scored Duke's first points on a drive, found Stevens twice in the first half for baskets and later scored on an ugly push shot. In the second half, she found Williams inside, flew in from the weak side to get a crucial stickback, and finished the Canes off with a late three. She also took a huge charge. Throw in seven rebounds and a couple of steals, and you have Johnson at her best -- doing the little things in support of the big guns.

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Off the Duke Bench (in order of entry)

Mercedes Riggs


Mercedes had to run the team for long periods thanks to foul trouble to its starters. She did a reasonable job, though she gambled too often on the defensive end. On one play, she lunged for a steal, got out of position and left a Miami player wide open for a basket. On the other hand, on another play, she got right up in the grill of a Miami player and wound up drawing a crucial offensive foul.

Kendall Cooper


Kendall came in and immediately scored on a hook and later drew a couple of fouls. The shots she missed tended to be weird underhand scoop shots that seemed designed to draw fouls, but she frequently wasn't bailed out in such a way. In the second half, she found Williams for a score and scored on a feed from Henson. Foul trouble prevented Cooper from playing more, but she was a solid presence at both ends, as she also blocked a couple of shots.

Erin Mathias


Erin came in to help massage foul trouble in the first half and did a fine job at both ends. On defense, she was quick and long enough to bother Miami's shooters. She wasn't afraid to stick her nose in and battle for rebounds. She had a nice entry pass to Stevens for a score. Erin did what she needed to do and didn't force anything. Coach McCallie indicated that she would have played her more in the second half if circumstances had determined it regarding foul trouble and fatigue.

Jenna Frush


Jenna got a nice cameo at the end of the game, which especially pleased the EJAK supporters in attendance.

Duke Turns Back Miami, 68-53
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Duke Turns Back Miami, 68-53
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